Liturgical Ministries - Extra Ordinary Ministers of Communion

In the early church, Mass was only celebrated on Sundays. As a result many of the faithful took a sufficient supply of sacred particles home to use during the week. These early believers carefully preserved the consecrated bread, consumed a portion of it day after day before eating their regular food, and gave a portion of it to others. This made it possible for the sick, prisoners, and isolated monks to communicate frequently.

A change was made during the middle ages, and distributing the Eucharist became a practice more and more of the clergy alone. At that time, many Christians began to emphasize the divine aspect of the Eucharist. The host was to be adored more than to be eaten. This led laypersons to be gradually eliminated from the liturgy, even from the altar. Early in the 1900’s, this began to change. These changes were slow to occur but were significant.

In 1969, Pope Paul VI gave the bishops the option of using the laity to assist in the distribution of the Eucharist. These laypersons are called EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF THE EUCHARIST. The ordinary (usual) minister is still the Bishop, priest or deacon.

In 1984, Bishop Gaughan decided to permit the use of Extraordinary Ministers in our dioceses. These persons are to be selected by their pastor and approved by the Bishop. On November 29, 1984, our parish had 17 parishioners approved as Extraordinary Ministers. This increased in December 1985 to 32, as we were now to give communion under both species (bread and wine).

According to Pope Paul VI, The Extraordinary Ministers of Communion should be mature Christians, persons of excellent character, who take their faith seriously and live a Christian life. Faith in the real Eucharistic presence is a most critical quality for a minister of communion. They should also be prayerful and a person of joy.

Although Priests and Deacons are the Ordinary Ministers of Communion, lay ministers are also trained and commissioned to distribute the Body and Blood of Christ with reverence and dignity during the Communion Rite of the Mass and during home visits for those who are unable to attend Mass due to sickness or infirmity.

Our parish currently has approximately 60 lay ministers. We could use more ministers, especially for our 11 am Sunday Masses.

If you would like to get involved, please call the parish office at 219-769-1755. One of our active ministers will provide training.